Willington Common Historic District

View of Willington Common Historic District; Source- NRIS 90001911.
Historic/Common Name:
Willington Common National Register Historic District
Town:
Willington »
Year of Establishment:
1981
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Town Green, Town Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Willington Common Historic District is a small residential community on Route 74 (formerly Route 44) in Willington Hill. The majority of the Willington Common Historic District's resources surround Willington Common, which is bounded on the south by Route 74, on the north by Common Road, and on the east by Jared Sparks Road. The basic layout of the area has remained essentially unchanged since about 1800. Common land set aside by the town in 1757 and 1762 included acreage on both sides of the Tolland Turnpike. The northern section is the present Town Common. Land on the south side of the road remained undeveloped until 1797 when the town granted permission for a store at the southeastern end. By 1809 the rest of the southern section was divided and sold for building lots. Common Road, a dirt road for most of the nineteenth century, was accepted as a town highway in 1925 in an effort to halt encroachment by automobiles and wagons across the common. More recently, with the construction of Route 84 to the west, Route 74 has been widened to accommodate an increase in through traffic. The Willington Town Common, a roughly triangular open grassed area of about two acres, is the focus of the Willington Common Historic District. It is bordered by mature trees along Common Road, its northern border. Three institutional buildings face the common: two on the north, the Congregational Church and the former Town Hall, and the Baptist Meeting House on the south, now the Federated Church of Willington and the only one of the three still in use in its original capacity. The Congregational Church and the Old Town Hall were both built in 1876. Despite their date of construction, they both are typical eighteenth-century types. The church, now vacant, functioned as the town hall from 1926 to 1974. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture: The Willington Common Historic District is architecturally significant as a small, cohesive, well-preserved rural town center whose development is illustrated from 1738 to 1938. The historical and architectural integrity of the Willington Common Historic District is exceptional; all of the vernacular residential, agricultural, commercial, and institutional buildings contribute to its historic character. They were built around the original eighteenth-century common in the Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival styles. The Willington Town Common with its surrounding rich variety of institutional and residential buildings establishes the Willington Common Historic District's distinct character as a rural crossroads village. The common's irregular shape and sloping lawn are typical of New England's early town centers. The town common has remained as the focal point of the area, much as it was in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Willington Common Historic District, which comprises the original town center established in Willington in 1727, has continued to serve in that capacity to the present day. [NR]

District Boundary:

The historic district includes the Willington Common and its surroundings properties as described in the district ordinance.

Features:

Buildings, Common Green, Others- Monument

Use:

Residential, Religious, Agriculture, Landscape (common), Social (Meeting Hall)

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival

Era:
18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century; Period of significance- 1738-1938
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.willingtonct.org/Public_Documents/index.
[2] Willington Common Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1981, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] GIS information and Parcel IDs retrieved from http://www.wincog-gis.org/ags_map/default.asp?town=Willington.
[NR] Cunningham Jan, Willington Common Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 90001911 NRIS, National Park Service, 1990 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/90001911.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/90001911.pdf.

Notes:

The local historic district is contained within the National Register Historic District.

Links:
Map:

Map of the local historic district retrieved from the report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1981, SHPO Library, Hartford.

View photo
Disclaimer:

The street addresses of the designated properties have been retrieved from the Historic District Study Committee report, 1981, SHPO Library, Hartford. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

Date of Compilation:
12/15/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation